Former Microsoft Dynamics Channel Exec Joins NetSuite

Doug Kennedy, who managed channel operations for Microsoft's Dynamics applications business for more than seven years, is now at competitor cloud application vendor NetSuite, managing that company's relationships with systems integrators.

Word of Kennedy's move to NetSuite comes as Microsoft undergoes a corporate restructuring that includes changes to the Dynamics organization, including putting its partner sales operations under the control of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner.

Kennedy joined NetSuite three weeks ago as the company's vice president of global systems integrators. He's tasked with managing NetSuite's relationships with such partners as Accenture, Cap Gemini and Deloitte, ensuring they are successfully working with NetSuite's field sales force as customers implement and integrate the vendor's applications.

[Related: NetSuite Kicks Off 2015 SuiteWorld Conference As CRM, ERP Wars Heat Up]

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"I'm doing all the things I've been doing for a couple of decades with the big channel players," Kennedy said in a phone interview with CRN.

Kennedy served as vice president, Dynamics partners sales and programs, at Microsoft.

Before joining Microsoft in 2008, Kennedy worked at Oracle for 17 years, last serving as senior vice president of worldwide alliances and channels.

At NetSuite, Kennedy reports to Mike Arntz, senior vice president of North American sales, with whom Kennedy worked at Oracle.

In December, NetSuite hired former Microsoft executive Fred Studer to be its chief marketing officer. Studer was part of the Microsoft Dynamics team since 2011, managing the ERP application product lines before becoming general manager of the Dynamics CRM applications in August 2013.

Microsoft's Dynamics product line includes the company's cloud and on-premise CRM and ERP applications, the latter including Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV and Dynamix AX. The cloud versions of those products compete head to head with NetSuite's CRM and ERP cloud applications.

This week it was disclosed that Microsoft is reorganizing segments of the Dynamics business as part of a corporatewide restructuring effort. The developer teams who build the Dynamics applications are being moved into Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise organization led by Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie. And Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner will assume responsibility for the Dynamics sales and partner organization, according to a memo sent Wednesday from CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees, posted on Microsoft's website.

Kennedy said that when Microsoft acquired Great Plains Software, which eventually became Dynamics GP, the ERP unit struggled when Microsoft tried to integrate it too closely with the rest of the company, eventually structuring it as a more independent operation. That earlier experience could raise a red flag if Microsoft is pulling the Dynamics business back into its core.

Kennedy said a reorganization like the one Microsoft is undertaking can cut both ways for competitors like NetSuite, causing uncertainty for customers but also potentially making the restructured company more effective if the reorganization achieves its goals. "It gives us reason to watch things closely," Kennedy said.

Kennedy also noted that while NetSuite and Microsoft compete in the ERP and CRM applications arena, the two company's announced a "cloud alliance" in May under which the companies integrate NetSuite's ERP applications with Microsoft's Office 365, Azure and Windows software. The reorganization "actually makes it easier for us to work with Microsoft as a partner," Kennedy said.